Have you or a loved one taken the popular arthritis pill Xeljanz, and later experienced dangerous side effects such as blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, heart attacks or cancer?
If your answer is yes, you may be entitled to participate in Xeljanz lawsuits currently being filed in courts throughout the U.S.
In recent years, scientific studies have provided strong evidence linking Xeljanz to significantly increased risks of a large number of dangerous medical conditions. Contact our experienced Xeljanz lawsuit attorneys today to learn more and to ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve.
What is Xeljanz, and What is it Used For?
Xeljanz is the brand name for tofacitinib, a popular arthritis pill produced and sold by Pfizer Inc. Since 2013, well over 200,000 adults have been prescribed the treatment. The drug has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and active ulcerative colitis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body's immune system becomes overactive and damages joints and other tissues, causing joint pain, swelling and fatigue. When the body suffers from RA, Janus kinase (JAK) enzymes trigger new and unwanted tissue growth in the joints. The body's immune system then attacks the tissue lining the joints, irritating and inflaming the joints and ultimately leading to joint damage.
Xeljanz is a JAK inhibitor drug that calms the body's overactive immune system by blocking its messaging pathway, which reduces RA symptoms like joint pain and swelling.
Since its initial approval in 2012 as a treatment for RA, Xeljanz has also been approved as a treatment for psoriatic arthritis and ulcerative colitis. The drug is sold in two forms: Xeljanz, which is sold in 5-milligram pills, and Xeljanz XR, 11-milligram extended-release pills which release the drug into the body at a steady level over longer periods of time.
Most rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis patients take a 5-milligram pill, twice daily, though people with liver or kidney problems only take one 5-milligram pill per day. Patients suffering from severe ulcerative colitis typically take 10 milligrams of Xeljanz, twice daily.
Medical Studies Reveal Dangerous Side Effects
When the FDA first approved Xeljanz in 2012, the agency required Pfizer to conduct post-marketing safety studies to determine if the drug posed safety risks to patients with risk factors for other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
The first results of the study, released in February 2019, were very troubling. The study found that patients taking the 10-milligram dose twice a day were significantly more likely to develop deadly blood clottings such as pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis than patients taking a tumour necrosis factor inhibitor drug (TNF).
In July 2019, the FDA responded to these disturbing results by issuing a drug safety communication requiring Pfizer to add "black box" warnings to Xeljanz's website and packaging indicating the increased risk of potential side effects such as blood clots. A black box warning is the most serious warning label issued by the FDA, appearing on a drug's label and designed to highlight the drug's serious and life-threatening health risks. In addition to highlighting the blood clot risks, the FDA also removed its approval of a twice-daily 10-milligram dose of Xeljanz for RA and psoriatic arthritis and limited the use of Xeljanz to ulcerative colitis patients who aren't responding to or cannot tolerate other medicines.
The bad news did not end there. In February 2021, the FDA issued a new safety alert warning to the public that preliminary results from the clinical safety trial show that patients taking Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR were more likely to develop severe side effects such as heart problems and cancer than patients taking TNF. These results are particularly troubling, as they indicate that even patients taking two 5-milligram daily doses of the drug showed a marked increased risk of death.
Xeljanz Side Effects
Although the full extent of the adverse effects associated with Xeljanz is not yet known, the evidence clearly shows a significantly increased risk of dangerous side effects and death in patients who were prescribed the drug. These side effects include:
- Blood Clot Injuries: Pulmonary Embolism & Pulmonary Thrombosis - Pulmonary embolisms occur when a blood clot or other obstruction becomes lodged in an artery in the lung and blocks blood flow to the lung. Pulmonary thrombosis, a similar condition, occurs when a blood clot develops in a blood vessel and reduces the blood flow through the vessel. Signs of pulmonary embolisms include chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive sweating and bluish-coloured skin.
- Heart Problems - Clinical trials have shown an increased risk of heart problems among Xeljanz users. In a recent news release, Pfizer stated that the most common heart-related events associated with Xeljanz are heart attacks, though other heart risks exist as well.
- Cancer - Xeljanz has been associated with many types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer, gastric cancer and lymphoma. The most common cancer associated with Xeljanz thus far is lung cancer.
- Strokes - The significantly increased likelihood of a blood clot injury among patients taking Xeljanz can lead to life-threatening strokes.
- Liver Damage - Studies have confirmed that some patients treated with Xeljanz have seen liver enzyme elevations greater than three times the upper limit of normal.
All drug manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies have an obligation to warn patients and medical professionals of the risks and adverse effects of the drugs they sell. Patients, doctors and other health care professionals rely upon these disclosures and warnings when making critical decisions about which drugs to use for specific conditions.
Currently, many patients who took Xeljanz and Xeljanz XR for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and active ulcerative colitis are filing lawsuits to recover compensation for losses they have suffered. Additionally, many relatives whose loved ones died due to Xeljanz's side effects are currently bringing wrongful death claims on behalf of those they lost to the defective medication. These lawsuits claim that Pfizer did not adequately warn Xeljanz users of the drug's dangerous side effects and severe risks.
Plaintiffs who bring defective drug lawsuits against drug companies like Pfizer are seeking compensation for their losses, including but not limited to: pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and earning capacity, and loss of consortium for the victim's loved ones.
Call the Rothenberg Law Firm Today About the Xeljanz Lawsuit
If you or a loved one took Xeljanz and experienced any dangerous side effects, or if a loved one died due to these side effects, you may be able to bring a legal claim against the manufacturer for its failure to warn against the dangers of its product.
Contact the experienced attorneys at the Rothenberg Law Firm at 1-800-624-8888 for a free, no-obligation Xeljanz lawsuit case consultation with our defective drug litigation team and to learn more about your rights.